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On-line H.P. Acthar Gel

Brand Name(s): ACTH-80, H.P. Acthar Gel

Generic Name Corticotropin Injection

What is corticotropin?

CORTICOTROPIN (Acthar®) is a hormone that occurs naturally in the body. Corticotropin causes the adrenal gland to release cortisol. Corticotropin most often is used to test the function of the adrenal gland. Corticotropin can also reduce inflammation in various other conditions, but has largely been replaced by other corticosteroids. Generic corticotropin injections are available.

What should my health care professional know before I receive corticotropin?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • Cushing's syndrome
  • heart or circulation problems, or blood clots
  • high blood pressure
  • high blood sodium level
  • infection, such as herpes
  • liver disease
  • low blood potassium level
  • osteoporosis
  • peptic ulcer
  • recent surgery
  • scleroderma
  • under-active thyroid
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to corticotropin, corticosteroids, pork proteins, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

For diagnostic purposes corticotropin is infused into a vein. For other treatments corticotropin is for injection into a muscle or under the skin. It is given by a health-care professional in a hospital or clinic setting.

What if I miss a dose?

This does not apply.

What drug(s) may interact with corticotropin?

  • acetazolamide
  • amphotericin B
  • antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen)
  • aspirin and aspirin-like medicines
  • barbiturate medicines for inducing sleep or treating seizures
  • bosentan
  • certain heart medicines
  • female hormones, including contraceptives or birth control pills
  • growth hormone
  • medicines for diabetes
  • phenytoin
  • potassium salts
  • rifampin
  • water pills

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What side effects may I notice from receiving corticotropin?

Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • bloody or black, tarry stools
  • confusion, excitement, restlessness, a false sense of well-being
  • decreased or blurred vision
  • fever, sore throat, sneezing, cough, or other signs of infection, wounds that will not heal
  • frequent passing of urine
  • hallucinations (seeing and hearing things that are not really there)
  • increased thirst
  • irregular heartbeat
  • mental depression, mood swings, mistaken feelings of self-importance or of being mistreated
  • menstrual problems
  • muscle cramps or weakness
  • nausea, vomiting
  • pain in hips, back, ribs, arms, shoulders, or legs
  • pain, redness, swelling, signs of allergy, or scarring at the injection site
  • rounding out of face
  • skin problems, acne, thin and shiny skin
  • stomach pain
  • swelling of feet or lower legs
  • unusual bruising, pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • weight gain

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • increased appetite
  • nervousness, restlessness, or difficulty sleeping
  • upset stomach
  • unusual increased growth of hair on the face or body

What should I watch for while taking corticotropin?

Visit your prescriber or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. If you are receiving corticotropin over a prolonged period, carry an identification card with your name, address, the type and dose of corticotropin, and your prescriber's name and address.

If you are receiving corticotropin regularly, avoid contact with people who have an infection. You will have an increased risk of infection while receiving corticotropin. Do not receive any vaccinations as you may get a strong reaction. Avoid people who have recently taken oral polio vaccine. Tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are exposed to anyone with measles or chickenpox, or if you develop sores or blisters that do not heal properly.

If you are going to have surgery, tell your prescriber or health care professional that you have received corticotropin within the last twelve months.

Corticotropin can interfere with certain lab tests and can cause false skin test results.

Where can I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children.

After mixing store in a refrigerator between 2 and 8 °C (36 and 46 °F) or use within 24 hours if kept at room temperature. Throw away any unused injection solution.


(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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